Sunday, 23 December 2012

Happy December.

2012 is about to take a bow and twirl off stage, while 2013 is practicing its lines in the wings, getting ready to make a big entrance.

A huge thank you to all the readers who've helped make this year a memorable one.

Happy Christmas, and I hope you all have a great New Year!

Monday, 5 November 2012

November Update

Sorry I haven't been around for a while. Two new books have been wrestling each other in my brain, leaving little time for anything else. I've just about tamed one of them, but the second one is still wild and whipsnappy with long-reaching tentacles. It hasn't revealed all of its secrets yet, but it will be mine.

Some quick Wintercraftian news - last month, Shadowcry was chosen as a recommended book for Neil Gaiman's All Hallow's Read (very exciting!) and Blackwatch was picked as a Junior Library Guild Selection in the US. The series has been picking up lots of steam in the US, and for those of you who've emailed to ask about the release date of book three, stay tuned for an update very soon.

In the meantime, as an apology for being away so long, here's one of my favourite poems being read - rather brilliantly - by John De Lancie.

The Raven - by Edgar Allan Poe. 

Perfect listening for the darkening winter nights.

Sleep well, my friends.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Garden Wisdom AKA Snails Are Not The Enemy

As you probably know, I love spending time in my garden. It's lovely and quiet out there.  I have a chair hidden beneath some rowan trees and the only disturbance comes from a ninja blackbird that likes to swoop out of nowhere and aim right for your face.

This year, I started growing vegetables. The potato plants are magnificent, the tomato plants are grumpy, but coming along slowly, and my salad area has lots of visitors every night - visitors of the shelled and slimy kind - who have come to take advantage of the new breakfasting zone.

Here is one of them.

Steve McSnail

I have an organic garden where everything from snails to field mice, birds and leaf-cutter bees are welcome, and I have a complete no-kill policy.  The garden is a place of safety, even for gastropods. There was no way I was going to kill the slugs and snails (who have lived here peacefully for years without causing serious damage to my plants) but I did want some lettuces left at the end of the season.

Here's a tip I've discovered that every gardener can use.

I accidentally left a box of vegetable peelings (destined for the compost) out one night and found that snails were drawn to it.  Dozens of them.  Their snack of choice? Potato peelings.

One thought led to another, and I experimented.

I spread a couple of handfuls of fresh potato peelings around my salad leaves the next night, and when I went out to check everything, the snails were back, chomping on the peels, not on the plants!

The peel rots down after a couple of days, so you need to keep adding a handful here and there, but it works. Now the snails get their meal and I get my lettuce. It's simple, but it works.

Slugs and snails are not the enemy, my friends.  They're looking for a tasty meal, just like the rest of us.  Embrace your snails!

How could you not love a face like this?

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Blackwatch in the US

It is an exciting day here at the writing desk as the hardback edition of Blackwatch is officially released in the US.

The paperback of Shadowcry, the first book in the series, is also out today and, as a special treat, inside you will find some exclusive extra content, written by me.

I want to give a huge thank you to Martha and everyone at Greenwillow/HarperCollins for making this happen, and since this is a special day, I plan to celebrate Blackwatch's book birthday in style.

If you spot either Shadowcry or Blackwatch out and about, or you want to take a photo of yourself diving into Kate and Silas's world, email me your pictures and I'll feature some of the best on my blog over the summer.

Who needs the summer sun when Albion is still in the grip of winter?

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Summer Pictures

It's the end of May and summer is in full swing. Blue skies, sunshine, birds and bees. I've been spending a lot of time in the garden, armed with my laptop and a camera, and while I was out there today, I spotted this little guy.

I think he's a hawthorn shield bug. He was quite happily clambering over one of the young rowan trees, no doubt looking for delicious leaves, but he's very welcome to stay in the garden.

Meanwhile, Nella has been out enjoying the sun in her new pool.

Her favourite game is grabbing anything that's thrown in the pool, running off with it, and hiding it down the bottom of the garden. I think we're going to need some more tennis balls if the weather stays nice.

On Saturday I visited Durham for a book signing in Waterstones and it was another gorgeous day. Huge thanks to Gemma and everyone at the shop for making me feel welcome. The streets were packed full of people wearing shorts and sundresses, eating ice creams and soaking up the sun.

Here's my attempt at photographing rowers on the river.

(I'm sure those branches moved every time I tried to take a good picture.)

And here is (part of) Durham Cathedral, looking as wonderful as ever.


It has been a hot, busy week.

Legacy has been out for two weeks now. Thank you to everyone who has written to say that you've enjoyed the book. It's lovely to hear from you all.

I hope you're out enjoying the sunshine!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Legacy Unleashed

It's publication day!
*fireworks, explosions, cheers!* 

Wintercraft: Legacy is out in the world. The third book in the series has taken its place on the bookshelves alongside its brothers.

So, raise the curtains, dim the lights.
Silas, Kate, Edgar and Dalliah... the stage is yours.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Wintercraft Series Giveaway

With just one week to go until Wintercraft: Legacy is officially released, how would you like to win a full set of all three books, signed by me?

To enter, fill out the form below and I will draw one winner at random on publication day (Thursday 10th May).

Good luck!

Updated to add:
If there are lots of entries, I will also give out signed copies of Legacy to some extra winners, so do spread the word!

Update 2:
It's Publication Day!
Entries for the giveaway are now closed, so I have removed the entry form.  Thank you to everyone who entered, and for all of your wonderful messages.
I will be choosing a winner at random later tonight, so keep an eye on your email inboxes!
1st prize = The full set of signed books.
2nd & 3rd prize = A signed copy of Legacy.

Update 3:
I have sent emails out to the three winners!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Blackwatch US Cover Reveal

Advance copies of Blackwatch are heading out to reviewers across the US this month so I thought I'd share something very special with you today.

If you have an ARC, you will already have seen this, but for those of you who haven't seen the gorgeousness that is the US cover, here it is!

I love the snow, and the way it feels as if you could just step right onto the street behind Kate.

I couldn't be happier with it!

Blackwatch will be out in the US this summer on 26th June.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Checking In.

A quick post, just to say hello, while I fight my way through the word jungle.

This week I had a picture sent to me in a reader email, which I think is brilliant, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Wise words indeed.
(Thanks Mark E!)

There's just under ten weeks to go until Wintercraft: Legacy comes out in the UK (I can't believe how fast this year is flying. One second it's early January, the next... March!) so keep an eye out for crows watching you from the rooftops.  I can't wait to share the third book with you all.

Bye for now!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Radio Silence.

Recorded Message Begins.

Jenna is wandering the dark depths of her current story and apologises for her recent lack of blog updates. Normal service will be resumed shortly.
If you'd like to leave a message, or send virtual tea and biscuits to her desk, please do so after the beep.


Message ends.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

It's The Little Things.

Poor, forgotten January often ranks near the bottom of my list of favourite months. It's been a busy one for me, but instead on concentrating on the bigger things that have happened this month, I thought I'd focus on the smaller things that have made January shine so far.

Sherlock Series 2.
I very rarely watch TV by appointment. If there's something I'm interested in, I'll record it or catch up online later, but Sherlock is my only exception. If Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are gracing the screen, I'll be there to watch them.

Each series may just be three episodes long, but I've enjoyed every one. (And I really like Moriarty. There are people out there who may disagree, but I think he works really well. He teeters just on the wrong side of creepy insanity.) Also, Sherlock's handsome coat deserves a series of its own.  Maybe it could team up with the skull and the violin and go out solving crimes on its own. I don't know how it would work, but it should.

'The Coat' swooshes for the camera.

2.  Somebody That I Used To Know
Thanks to Cat at Beyond Books, I discovered this video of five people playing the guitar to a song I'd never heard before. The original song has now claimed a spot among my all-time favourites, and the cover version is well worth a watch. I love the intensity of the guy in the middle who looks like he wants to stand up and just rock out at any moment, and the complete laid back coolness of the guy on the right. It makes me smile.

3. Reader emails.
This month has been an unusually busy one for reader emails, and this time Edgar's fans have been writing to me more than most. Usually, Kate and Silas are the main talking points, but it seems Edgar is attracting his own pod of followers too!

Thanks to everyone who has written to me this year. I'm sorry I can't give anything away about Legacy, but May isn't too far away now. You'll have the story in your hands very soon!
(Many thanks to Brittany for the fantastic drawing of Kate, Crow and Edgar.)

 4. Some spectacular sunsets.
Nature has treated us to some gorgeous sunsets this month.  It's always nice to take time out to watch as earth turns away from the sun, and the sky has put on some spectacular shows. Take a look out of the window this evening. You could be missing something wonderful.

What little things have made January special for you this year?

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Happy New Year!

A brand new year has pulled on its sparkly jacket and strutted out to dance under the disco lights!

Thank you to everyone who visited this blog throughout 2011.  2012 has lots of excitement lurking on the horizon, so I hope you'll join me here on the run up to Wintercraft: Legacy's release here in the UK in May, and Blackwatch's release in the US in June, plus more potential book news later in the year.

Here's hoping 2012 is a friendly year that brings good things to us all!